02 December 2008

SIPTU Members accept Aer Lingus Compromise

Members of Ireland's largest trade union SIPTU at Aer Lingus have voted to accept a compromise package of cost-cutting measures, aimed at saving the troubled Irish airline around € 24.5 million.

Almost 80% of the ground staff voted in favour of the proposals, which would see redundancies, lower pay and more efficient work practices. The turnout for the poll was also around 80%.

In total, the airline is seeking to reduce its staff costs by € 50 million. (for details see my entry of October 7th)

Cabin crew, which is represented by the IMPACT trade union, will announce the result of the vote on their reform package on Sunday.

Following talks at the Labour Relations Commission last month, SIPTU members were asked to consider a range of proposals put forward as an alternative to outsourcing more than 1000 jobs.

Meanwhile SIPTU's National Industrial Secretary Gerry McCormack said that he thought the latest bid to take over the company by Ryanair (see my earlier entry below) would have "little or no effect on the ballot, except to make members even more determined than ever to defend decent pay and conditions within the aviation sector".

McCormack said that given Ryanair's track record, he thought Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary's claims about fleet expansion and job creation would carry little credibility.
Even if the claims were credible, the bid still raised the spectre of a monopoly position for "an airline not noted for its concern for the public".

He added that SIPTU would be calling on the Irish government and on EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes "to ensure competition and strategic connectivity are preserved for the Irish people".

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